Of the Iowa State Fair’s corn dogs and candied apples, obligingly gushed over by hopeful First Ladies every four years: “Stuff on a stick.” Here’s Obama, talking to me in her motorcade halfway between Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and Green Bay about Obama Girl, the young woman who professed her crush on Obama’s husband all over the Internet: “That was a little weird, because, you know . And one day Sasha comes home and she’s, like, ‘Daddy has a girlfriend.
It’s you, Mommy.’ And it’s, like, ‘Oh, shhhhhhhhh—yeah.’ ” Curse word averted, barely.
Obama is also cool in the other sense of the word; her tastes, references, and vocabulary—“freaky,” “24/7,” “got my back,” “American Idol,” Judge Mathis—if not exactly edgy, are recognizable, which, for a political spouse, makes them seem radical. I just assumed, you know, there’s no way anybody’s gonna hear about that.
She doesn’t parse her words or select them with an antenna for political correctness.”People forget that Barack himself has been working the hapless-hubby routine for a long time: he writes about trying to enjoy the bachelor life as a freshman senator in Washington but finding himself too “fully domesticated, soft, and helpless” to remember to buy a shower curtain.
The ordinary card, in fact, may be one of the Obamas’ best assets.
She is often called “regal”—whether in —but her bearing is less royal than military: brisk, often stone-faced (even when making jokes), mordant.
Sharing the stage with a large, fuzzy piece of poultry might have daunted a more delicate sort of aspiring First Lady, but Obama took her eclipse by Cocky with the seen-it-all aplomb of one of the human characters on “Sesame Street.” That day, she was wearing a pair of high-waisted pin-striped sailor pants, a gray cashmere sweater, and a strand of pearls, but, though she is stylishly appointed, she is not dainty.
She is, after all, a “community and external affairs” professional.